The Tenth Good Thing About Barney

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney

Book - 1971
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In an attempt to overcome his grief, a boy tries to think of the ten best things about his dead cat.
Publisher: New York : Atheneum, 1971.
Edition: 1st ed..
ISBN: 9780689206887
Call Number: VIORST
Characteristics: 25 p. : ill. ; 19 cm
Subjects: Pet loss -- Juvenile fiction.
Pets -- Juvenile fiction.
Pets -- Death -- Juvenile fiction.
Pets -- Death -- Psychological aspects -- Juvenile fiction.
Grief -- Juvenile fiction.
Cats -- Juvenile fiction.
Death -- Juvenile fiction.
Children and death -- Juvenile fiction.
Additional Contributors: Blegvad, Erik - Illustrator


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Mar 30, 2018

As a general book to introduce the topic of death, this book works well. I wouldn't put it in the top picks for books about death for little ones but it's a good one talking about a pet's death.

Feb 26, 2017

I wouldn't say its amazing books for kid, but so so.. It could be a better than it.

Mar 02, 2015

A little boy's cat has died. He is very sad. They have a funeral for the cat. The boy's mother asks him to think of ten things about the cat, Barney, to tell at the funeral. The boy can only think of nine. The boy has cookies with his friend Annie after the funeral and they argue over whether the cat is in heaven. The boy's dad says maybe he and maybe he isn't. Then he shows the boy about planting seeds in the garden and how the cat will become a part of the garden now that it is in the ground. The boy decides that the tenth good thing about Barney is that he will help the garden to grow.

The illustrations were very nice pencil drawings that were soft in tone to match the theme of the story.

This story starts out very sweet and sad bringing tears to your eyes, but very quickly several problems jump out to ruin the story. The first most obvious problem is the language of the story. There are absolutely no quotation marks when someone is speaking. This makes the reading very awkward and makes it feel monotone. The writing is also very awkward. The next difficulty is when Annie and the boy argue about heaven. The dad comes in and says we don't know if heaven is even there. For those who believe in heaven (whether they believe animals go to heaven or not) this is a blatant message against our beliefs. Then, the most disturbing of all is when the dad teaches the boy that his cat is now decomposing in the garden to help it grow. If a child is sad about losing his pet, he is not going to want the idea that his cat is now rotting in the ground.

If the story had continued as it had started this might have been a good book. But as it is, I cannot recommend it for a grieving child. It will confuse and disturb rather than comfort.

Sep 09, 2012

Yes, it's a kids' book, but if I, say, find it lying around in my house and flip through it, I cry like a little kid.


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